As a Brooklyn native, I’m inclined to believe that New York is the greatest city to do business. If you can make it there, as Frank Sinatra once mused, you can make it anywhere. Across the country, Silicon Valley has also been earning a reputations as a place for entrepreneurs to make it big. But that’s not to discredit the many places in this country between these two business powerhouses that are doing their part in attracting new business. And as any pragmatic entrepreneur could point out, the market in San Francisco and New York is getting saturated, while other more underserved areas in this country, while not as glamorous, have a lot potential for striking gold. I recently read a blog post about three different cities and what they’re doing to attract entrepreneurs and harness the fabled power of the”startup” to make a comeback. Here’s what they had to say:
Buffalo: Once upon a time, Buffalo was one of the largest and wealthiest cities in the country, yet in the second half of the 20th century it’s seen steady decline. Back in 2014, governor Cuomo launched the “Buffalo Billion” initiative, pledging to commit $1 billion to various endeavours to spur growth in the city. One of these is the 43North, a competition designed to get entrepreneurs across the country to start up in Buffalo. The grand prize winners receive $1 million in funding, free space for a year and mentorship from various executives. They’re also eligible to apply to the StartUpNY program, offering companies 10 years of freedom from personal income taxes.
Detroit: The fabled “motor city” has earned a bad reputation over the years as a city riddled with crime and unemployment, yet in recent years has been doing its part to engineer a comeback. Jill Ford, head of innovation and entrepreneurship for the city, created the “Motor City Match” program, where aspiring entrepreneurs can receive four different types of grants: a free business planning class, assistance in finding a space for their business, help finding an architect to redesign their space, or up to $100,000 if they already have a space and are ready to go. The program is funded in part by the city of Detroit and the Department of Housing and Urban Development; since its founding in 2015, it’s worked with 572 businesses and offered $2.9 million in grants.
Albuquerque: Since being featured as the setting for the hit TV drama “Breaking Bad”, Albuquerque has been gaining plenty of press. To try and make the most out of this, the city’s accelerator ABQid has come up with an attention-grabbing way to attract entrepreneurs and investors. For three years, it’s hosted a “Ski Lift Pitch” contest at the Taos Ski Valley ski resort. The name is pretty self-explanatory: each investor is paired with an entrepreneur, who then delivers a startup pitch over the course of a 10-minute ski lift ride; the first place winner gets a $10,000 prize. It’s been attracting investors and entrepreneurs from Arizona to Vermont, and while it isn’t necessarily getting them to stay in Albuquerque, the main goal is to get people to visit New Mexico and look at investing in companies.